Rudy Jacket

Objective

The goal of this project was to design warm, comfortable jackets for my dog Rudy and my brother's dog Maple. This was my first attempt at designing clothing for dogs, and It was fun consider design factors that are specific to dogs. In the end, I came up with the following design objectives:

  1. Warmth

  2. Comfortable for dogs

  3. Does not inhibit range of motion and is comfortable

  4. Soft inner lining that does not cause chaffing

  5. Visibility at night (through reflective patches)

  6. Easy to put on / take off

  7. Does not get in the way when dogs go to the bathroom

  8. No loose straps (chew points)

Design Process

Step 1: Sketching

I began the design process by sketching what I wanted the jacket to look like while Rudy is wearing it. This step helped me get a general idea of the general shape of the jacket.

Step 2: 3D modeling

The next step was to design the jacket in 3D. I downloaded a free dog model from the internet and scaled it to be the same size as Rudy. I then created the jacket design around this 3D dog model, which helped me ensure what the jacket pattern would eventually fit onto Rudy.


Step 3: Pattern Drafting

Next, I flattened the jacket into a 2D object, simplified the lines, and added seam allowances to come up with a pattern.

The design I came up with is quite simple. 2 velcro straps secure the jacket to the dog. One strap wraps underneath the belly, and the other strap goes across the dog's chest and fastens to velcro on the dog's right shoulder.

Step 4: Cut & Sew

Next, I cut the pattern pieces out of the various fabrics and sewed them into the dog jackets. I used duck canvas for the outer layer, fleece for the inner layer, and a coated reflective polyester for accents.

Step 5: Product Testing with Happy Dogs!

Conclusion

Overall I am very pleased with this design. The most important aspect in this design is the dog's comfort, because I would never want a dog to wear anything uncomfortable.

Maple generally does not like wearing clothes, and freezes if you try to put a harness on her, so I was quite nervous that she would not like her coat. However, she does not seem to mind her new jacket at all and looks great in it!

To product test these jackets I took the dogs cross country skiing (their favorite activity) and captured some video of them running at full speed. If I were redesigning this jacket I would move the strap across the chest to be slightly higher to ensure that it does not hinder the dogs' range of motion, but the dog's did not seem to mind wearing the jackets and had no problems running at full speed.

I also tested the jackets by taking the dogs for a walk at night, and the reflective accents definitely make the dogs more visible to cars.

Overall this project was a success, and I can't wait to continue designing gear for Rudy and Maple.

Bonus dog video!